Nearly two months since news prematurely broke that the Dodgers had signed 26-year-old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a 7/$32m contract, there’s finally an update on this front after weeks of inactivity. Guerrero has been cleared to sign with a major league team, reports Darren Wolfson of ESPN, and while I won’t bore you with the political and technical details, the short version is that until both the United States government and Major League Baseball gave him clearance to proceed, he was on ice. It appears that now his time has come, and we could see him sign with a team this month.
Who might that be? We’ve long heard that the Dodgers are the frontrunners — they’re mentioned in just about every story that involves him, along with the Twins, Braves, and several others — and the fit here is obvious. The Dodgers have big holes at both second base (Mark Ellis is on the decline and has a team option for 2014) and third base (Juan Uribe is a free agent) with little immediate help from the farm system to fill those spots, and there’s not a whole lot out there other than paying a huge price for Robinson Cano or a massive prospect package for Howie Kendrick.
As the MLB Trade Rumors story quotes Ben Badler of Baseball America…
As Ben Badler of Baseball America pointed out in a subscription-only scouting report in early August, interested parties likely view Guerrero as an offensive-oriented second baseman. Questions about his range and first-step quickness will likely prevent him from sticking at shortstop in the Majors, according to Badler, who added that raw right-handed power was Guerrero’s best tool.
Yes, please. I will offer the usual caveats here that I have never seen Guerrero play and know little about him other than what the reports indicate, and there’s as much chance that he becomes the next Andy Morales rather than the next Yasiel Puig, so there’s never any guarantees here. Still, the cost here is only money, and something like 15% of what Cano is likely to get at that. Even if he’s merely a solid-average player and not a superstar, that seems like a reasonable risk to take, and I have to imagine the Dodgers remain interested. Here’s hoping they land him.